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20th Century Fox presents
"You have a girl. Unless I cut the wrong cord"
DVD ReviewAs I sit down to offer my thoughts on the Chris Columbus comedy Nine Months, my sister-in-law is in the closing weeks of her very own nine-month project. While it has yet to be seen if the birth of my niece will have the same kind of "Keystone Cops" feel to it that was clearly evident in this film, one thing seems to be certain: Pregnancy brings many tender moments that are special to expecting parents. Unfortunately, Nine Months fails to focus on these moments, choosing an unoriginal plot instead.
Dr. Samuel Faulkner (Grant) is living what many would consider the perfect life. He drives a Porsche, is a successful child psychiatrist (who just happens to be afraid of kids), and has a beautiful girlfriend Rebecca (Moore). After five years of sharing the same apartment, Rebecca starts to believe that something is missing from her life. Her void is soon filled with the realization that she's pregnant and her maternal instincts go into overdrive. Naturally, Samuel doesn't share Rebecca's excitement when it comes to parenthood, and his constant complaint causes Rebecca to move out. Soon, the two share nothing more than their mutual friendship with a another couple (Cusack and Arnold).
Aside from failing to generate any truly inspired moments of comedy, the largest problem Nine Months has is that the point of view is almost entirely from the male perspective. We know that Samuel is afraid of commitment and that he will eventually see the light and want to be a father; yet, there are only a few moments that focus on Rebecca as she moves along in her pregnancy. Nine Monthsseems to imply that pregnancy is most difficult on the father-to-be and, although I am sure that most women wish it were so, this just feels wrong.
Writer/director Chris Columbus, gaining inspiration from the French film Neuf Mois, mines from the same slapstick well as he did for Mrs. Doubtfire and the Home Alone films. In Nine Months, the humor sometimes works, mainly a moment when Samuel and Marty (Arnold) battle a Barney-like mascot in a toy store. But at other moments, Columbus' use of humor drags the film, including the closing moments in the delivery room that may as well include not only the Ricardos but also the Three Stooges.
Grant, in his first Hollywood film, does a nice job as Samuel, but his trademark "aw, shucks" manner just doesn't fit. What made Grant a star in Four Weddings and a Funeral were moments where he was charming and had undeniable charisma; here, Grant's abilities are only present in moments that allow him to do something other than be a showcase for comic scenes. Moore is terrific as Rebecca who, unlike Samuel—or anyone in the cast for that matter—shows a great amount of range and is something more than a comic platform for Grant. Joan Cusack and Tom Arnold are good as supporting players and Jeff Goldblum, taking a break from sci-fi films, is underused as Grant's bachelor buddy. But perhaps the best performance is nothing more than a cameo: Robin Williams is hilarious as the expecting couples obstetrician and his scenes alone make Nine Months worth watching.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+
Image Transfer Review: Already available in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio on laserdisc, Nine Months receives the anamorphic treatment on this new DVD from Fox. Sharpness and detail are each impressive, giving the image a nice film-like look. Edge enhancement is a problem in several scenes, while black level is fine with no traces of grain evident. Colors are well done with the bright palette created by Columbus coming off well.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: Presented with a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the first time, Nine Months sounds like most other comedies generally do, which is to say that the experience is less than sonic. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand, and Hans Zimmer's score comes across nicely out of the left and right speakers. The surround speakers are quiet throughout the film, and the .1 LFE channel never becomes active. A 2.0 channel Dolby Surround mix is provided in English and French.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English and Spanish with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring For the Boys, Norma Rae, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Working Girl,and Nine to Five.
3 TV Spots/Teasers
Extras Review: The original trailer for Nine Months and a French language trailer are available, as well as three TV spots for the film. Trailers for these other Fox releases round out the disc: For the Boys, Norma Rae, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Working Girl,and Nine to Five.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsNine Months is a film that I have always been on the fence about. On one hand the performances, as well as a few isolated scenes of humor, make the film work; on the other hand, the slapstick and lack of personal moments hamper the movie. The video transfer is easily the best this film has had, and while not abundant in extra features, those included do get high marks. Recommended for fans of the film. Oh, and I have to give myself a pat on the back for not mentioning the words "Divine", "Brown", or "prostitute" in my review...yay me.
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